Newly hatched chicks

Posted by: cinwri

Newly hatched chicks - 05/16/15 11:25 AM

Hello out there! I have some chicks that have hatched in the last few hours. ! last evening and 2 more this morning. There are 2 more yet to hatch. I had a couple of broody hens ( no rooster ) so I bought 6 fertile eggs. Now that they are hatching I need to know when to take them and put them in a brooder box with heat. They can not stay in the coop with all the other chickens. I do not free range due to predators, so they will have to be in the brooder. And do they know by instinct to eat and drink? All help and advice is very much appreciated. thanks in advance
Posted by: CJR

Re: Newly hatched chicks - 05/17/15 03:13 PM

As soon as all have hatched and are dry, they can be moved from the hen.
I start mine in a deep box, layers of newspaper lined, waterer that is shallow and so they cannot drown, I feed right on the paper for a few days until they are eating well, then a chick feeder. Add a new layer of paper as it is soiled, and every few days roll it up and layer clean papers. DO NOT USE A HEAT LAMP. A regular 60 or 75 W incandescant light over the box will keep them warm. Check heat with a small thermometer on the bottom of the box, under the light!!!! 95degrees for about a week, then drop (by raising the light) 5 degrees a week until they are well feathered and outside temperature in about 70-75F. Larger box as they grow and a screen over the top,. as they will fly out VERY SOON! I dip my finger in the water and hold it to the beak of the chicky. When one learns to find the water, they follow the leader. I tap my wet finger on the chick crumbles and hold that to the beak--drop it off in front of a chick, and then tap, tap the feed --like a hen calls them and drops the crumbles in front of the chick. Again, when one eats, they all do-AND they will instinctively drink and eat, even if you do not "show them", but it is fun to be the "momma hen" for a minute! If you change to pine shavings after a short time, be sure to give them some baby grit in a corner of the box, as they will eat a lot of shavings and it will prime their wee gizzards to process the shavings and avoid poop problems. Great project--goodluck....
Posted by: Robbie

Re: Newly hatched chicks - 05/18/15 05:46 AM

One thing I have found that's handy are puppy pee pads. One of these goes under the food and water area and another goes under the brooder lamp. The puppy pad is very absorbent, the chicks can walk on it easily as they can get a good grip and keeps everything very dry. I scatter the crumbles on the pad and the chicks peck at it without help. I do show each of them the water and dip their beaks into it to make sure they all know how to drink. Once is enough for each chick.
The pad is changed as needed. After a couple of days I'll start to put a layer of paper towel over the fresh pad. This paper sandwich is still very absorbent. The second layer of paper towel isn't really necessary but it's completely compostable, unlike the pee pad that has a layer of plastic. The pad will last much longer under the paper towel.
After the chicks can walk easily (a few days) I switch half the area over to bedding. I have both flax bedding and fine wood shavings. The flax is easier for them to walk on, it's almost dust free, but not quite as absorbent as the fine wood shavings. After a week the chicks are entirely bedded on wood shavings, but I keep paper towel under the waterer to keep that area dry. I give the chicks chick grit as soon as I start to introduce other types of food ( e.g. greens, mealworms,) after about 3 days.
Posted by: cinwri

Re: Newly hatched chicks - 05/18/15 09:31 AM

Thank You both CJR and Robbie, your tips and advice were greatly appreciated and very useful... I have one more egg that has not hatched, the 21 day mark was this past Friday, now it is Monday morning and am wondering if it will hatch or not. How long should I wait before giving up on it?? Anxiously waiting for an answer to this question.
Posted by: CJR

Re: Newly hatched chicks - 05/18/15 09:55 AM

Have you candled the egg to know that it was fertile and developing? Carry it into a dark room, flashlight against the egg . If clear or murky, dump it and take care of the chicks--they will need food and water now, and the hen may stay on that last eggs, if you take the chicks. Did you listen to the egg? Pecking or peeping? If nothing, forget it, 5 chicks would be fine from purchased eggs. Good luck.
Posted by: cinwri

Re: Newly hatched chicks - 05/18/15 10:20 AM

Ok I will try to candle. have not done that before so not sure what to see. You are right, the chicks I do have are a joy!! I only have 4 as one of the eggs got broken a couple of weeks ago. but the 4 that I have seem to be healthy and happy. eating and drinking and pooping! I even gave them a small dish of sand for their little crops...:)
Posted by: Robbie

Re: Newly hatched chicks - 05/18/15 06:42 PM

Hmmmm. 3 days late, I don't think that's a good sign. There are a lot of very good pictures and photos, even videos of what the candled egg should look like on which day. The first time I candled (it was on day 3, probably too early for a newbie! ) I confused the yolk floating on the white, and thought the white was a whopping great big air sac.....but on day 10 it was easy to see the dark eyes of the embryo and to see the embryo moving around, and to see the air sac with a bit of fiddling. I have a bit of trouble seeing air sacs and find that the easiest way is to candle the egg sideways- and sometimes having the light hit the egg at an oblique angle makes it easier to see. By the day of hatch the embryo fills most of the egg so it should appear very dark. Four chicks are stil lots and I am sure they are very cute!